Posted by sean on August 4, 2006 at 11:29 pm in Football, Leeds United, Life In Bath with No Comments

Mr. Watkins and I went to The Globe pub this evening for dinner. The Globe is famous in these parts for its excellent dish Hunters Chicken, a favourite dish of ours.

This evening, even though we had not savoured the succulent flavour of HC for over 12 months, we both went for different dishes. I went for a creamy chicken pie. A new dish to the menu as I had not noticed it the last time I went. Watkins decided to have the lamb.

I don’t even know if Watkins really likes lamb, he just had it to anger me. Whenever he eats lamb, it gives him terrible wind. Watkins is the gassiest person I know at the best of times, but introduce a serving of sheep meat into his diet and he’ll produce enough chemical warfare gas to keep even the largest of terrorist organisations happy.

As he was coming back to my flat for an evening of GoldenEye with Simon, I was a tad concerned that my lungs would be subject to an onslaught of poisonous gases escaping from Watkins’ guts.

Luckily, the evening went by and there were no major gas incidents from the bowels of Watkins. He has now gone home to Bristol and while he has left his normal aroma in the air, there is nothing which leaves me concerned for my long term health.

Haha Johnny – better luck next time!

The gassy lamb. Beofre consumption

Remains of the gassy lamb

Anyway, I’m off up to Leeds early tomorrow morning for the first game of the season against Norwich City. As always I will be brining my laptop and digital camera so expect a blog tomorrow evening with lots of pictures from Elland Road.

Below is a preview of the upcoming season I started writing this afternoon. If you like football read on. If you don’t this is where the blog ends for today…

It’s that time of year again, the start of the new football season. My God it has come along quick this time. I suppose Leeds United’s extended season due to play offs and The World Cup has made the period with no football a lot shorter.

Leeds start the new season with a few new faces and a few missing from last year. One of my favourite players, Rob Hulse has gone to Sheffield United and the promising youth player Simon Walton has gone down south to the mighty Charlton Athletic. Whether this will improve his long term career is yet to be seen…

Leeds have signed a lad from Brighton, Seb Carole. Apparently he’s a quick, and a potentially decent player. Some player called David Livemore was signed from Millwall but left to play for Hull City within two weeks of joining Leeds – strange one that. Sheffield United striker, Geoff Horsfield has also signed on loan. Don’t know what to make of him. Not much.

None of those new signings fill me with much confidence. The only decent player to arrive at Elland Road is Kevin Nicholls who was signed up from Luton to partner Shaun Derry in midfield. How typical is it that he got injured in his first training session when the fat, slow Leeds captain Paul Butler fell on top of him, damaging his ankles and putting him out of action for 3 months. Grrr…

The Championship is a very strong league this season, even harder than last year. Birmingham, Sunderland and West Brom have come down from The Premiership and all have excellent squads. Crystal Palace, Wolves, Preston, Leicester, Coventry, Norwich, Southampton and Cardiff all look very good and will probably do better than they did last season.

Leeds do have a tendency to play better against teams of high quality so hopefully the stronger league will lead to better performances, I don’t know though…

This time last year I felt very confident about promotion. This season, what with the tough league, coupled with the state of the squad makes me feel a lot more pessimistic. One area which I think needs to be addressed and fast is the manager Kevin Blackwell.

Blackwell has been the Leeds manager for the last two seasons. He has built a Leeds squad from nothing, although he has been given a lot of money to play with, something he seems to often forget in post-match interviews. Even with the money spent on players, Leeds were still unable to reach promotion last season, falling at the last hurdle.

Leeds’ style of play is very frustrating. The 4-5-1 formation Blackwell insists upon playing, along with hoofing the ball aimlessly into the air looks very unprofessional and does not get results. I expect that style of play from lads having a kick around in the park, not in the professional game!

I am very grateful for what Blackwell has done up until now, however I think he has taken Leeds as far as he can. I cannot see Leeds getting promoted with Blackwell in charge. I am sure that he will be sacked at some point this season.

With this in mind I think it is best for Chairman Bates to make a fresh start and bring in a new boss, my preference being John Carver who is currently the assistant manager. In the past Carver worked alongside Sir Bobby Robson in turning Newcastle United into an excellent side. I think he would make a good manager at Leeds.

My predictions for the upcoming season:

To win the league: Birmingham
To finish runners up: West Brom
Relegated: Southend, QPR, Colchester
Leeds to finish: 6th

To finish as Champions: Chelsea
2nd/3rd/4th: Liverpool/ManU/Arsenal
Relegated: Wigan, Sheffield United, Reading

Winners: Barcelona

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